American Airlines miles are now more valuable than they were last week…all thanks to a small modification to arcane routing rules on one partner airline.
Put simply, AA has a general rule that you cannot transit “third regions” when making an award redemption. So, for example, you cannot transit Europe enroute to Asia or Asia enroute to Australia. But there are all sorts of exceptions to this route, some which are logical and some which are downright bizarre. View from the Wing outlines all of them here.
For example, up until now if you were traveling to Africa you could travel via Doha (on Qatar Airways) on a single award, but flying via Abu Dhabi (on Etihad) would require two awards. Practically, flying Qatar Airways would be 40,000 miles each way in economy class or 75,000 miles each way in business class. Flying Etihad Airways would run 70,000 miles each way in economy class (40,000 to Abu Dhabi and 30,000 Africa) or 125,000 miles in business class (70,000 to Abu Dhabi and 55,000 to Africa).
But AA has loosened the rules…
Liberalized Routing Rules Make Eithad Awards Even More Valuable
As One Mile at a Time reports, Ameican will now allow a single award 0n Etihad between the following regions:
- Between North America and Africa via Abu Dhabi
- Between Europe and Africa via Abu Dhabi
- Between Europe and Asia via Abu Dhabi
- Between Europe and Australia via Abu Dhabi
- Between Africa and Asia via Abu Dhabi
- Between Africa and Australia via Abu Dhabi
We book a lot of Award Expert clients to Africa and the trick is finding space. Etihad can be a great option, but charging for two awards was often a dealbreaker for those with limited miles. My example above makes this news a game-changer. Flying from North America to Africa on Etihad will now require significantly fewer miles.
Another great example. Say you want to fly from Sydney to London via Abu Dhabi in first class. Previously, this routing required two separate awards, costing a total of 162,500 miles (100,000 miles for SYD-AUH and 62,500 miles for AUH-LHR). Now, this becomes one award (as long as your layover in Abu Dhabi is under 24 hours) at a cost of only 115,000 miles. That’s a huge increase in value.
I’ll outline in a separate post some of the constraints to booking this award and how to get around them. Put simply, you’ll need to call AA to book and it is often best to call the Australia call center rather than the USA number.
This is excellent news that I will personally take advantage of. It’s nice to see a loyalty program in 2019 become more valuable and not less…